By Romi Cvitkovic
WASHINGTON, D.C.— In his match over good friend Mardy Fish, world No. 36 Tommy Haas did everything right. From the first game to the last point, Haas served brilliantly, winning 93% of first serves, and is into the finals in Washington without dropping a set. He will move up about ten spots in the rankings to No. 26, and if he wins tomorrow, he will be back around the top 20.
The German stalwartly took command of the match hitting 21 winners mostly from his backhand and even got by without committing any unforced errors in the first set, which he commented on in his press conference.
“That’s obviously something that doesn’t happen often in my game since I play quite aggressively at times and do mishit a few balls here and there,” admitted Haas. “But in order to beat people like Mardy Fish, you have to play at a very high level.”
Haas’ first break of serve came early at 2-2 when he broke at love in the first, and there was no looking back as he served an ace to seal the set.
The second set held three glimmering chances for Fish to break Haas, but he failed to do any damage. Fish’s charging of the net to serve and volley, unfortunately, was too little and too late in the match. Although Fish won 92% of his own first serves, his serving percentage was stuck around 40% for the match, unable to rely on his eleven booming aces. Haas served his fastest serve of the day at 129mph that forced Fish to hit a tricky forehand return that went wide.
When asked to comment on his improved mental game in reaching his first Washington final in seven tries, Haas replied that he feels he is “wiser.”
“I still have problems sometimes keeping my emotions in check. If I do have an outburst or I do have a conversation with my coach, or I tell him that he’s an idiot, I do try to find myself and recover faster, and block that out and try to focus on the next point. When I was younger and even crazier, sometimes [the outbursts] could turn into 2, 3, 4 games of me playing bad tennis that would sometimes cost me the match.”
Though Fish was not able to pull out the win today, he stated that this week was not a failure for him after being able to barely walk a week ago due to an injury sustained in Atlanta.
“It’s certainly satisfying to see [my ankle] improve that much, that quickly. I was struggling the first couple of days after Atlanta. I couldn’t walk that well without pain. To still be here on a Saturday, that’s a win for us.”